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US Trade Groups Want a Hearing on Biden’s China Tariffs Hike

Pro-trade business groups have appealed for a 30-day extension for the period allowed for public feedback and a hearing to be held on the proposed hikes; that could delay the date they are implemented


Tension between China and the West is having severe impacts on global trade, causing inflation and a range of other impacts. Some countries will gain from these forces.
Trade groups in the US want more time to give feedback on tariffs announced in May by President Joe Biden (Reuters file image).

 

Pro-trade business groups in the United States have appealed to the Biden administration for another month to comment on plans to impose higher tariffs on a range of Chinese imports.

Some 173 trade associations organized by the ‘American for free trade’ umbrella sent a letter to the US Trade Representative’s Office (USTR) to seek a 30-day extension for the period allowed for public feedback, saying it would be in the public interest for it to run until July 28.

The group, representing manufacturers, retailers, technology firms, agribusiness groups, energy companies and transport firms, also requested that USTR hold a public hearing on the matter, as it did in 2017 and 2018 for prior tariffs.

 

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The Biden administration has proposed hiking tariffs on electric vehicles, batteries, solar products and other goods, but granting the trade group’s request would effectively delay the August 1 start date for many of the duties.

President Joe Biden announced the tariff hikes last month to protect US manufacturers in strategic sectors from Chinese excess industrial capacity that is flooding global markets with exports.

USTR subsequently announced a short, 30-day public comment period, with a quadrupling of duties on Chinese EVs to over 100% and a doubling of semiconductor duties to 50% scheduled to start on August 1.

“We are actively surveying our collective membership to gather feedback on the projected impacts of the proposed (tariff) modifications and document them in a manner that is most helpful to USTR,” the groups said in the letter, dated June 6 and filed to USTR’s comment portal.

“However, our members have indicated that they require additional time to gather and assess such information given the breadth of the breadth of the 387 product categories slated for higher duties and the submission format.”

A spokesperson for USTR could not immediately be reached for comment on the groups request.

News of the request comes as another policy group led by the United Steelworkers union and domestic manufacturing companies called for even stronger trade barriers to Chinese imports.

The Alliance for American Manufacturing said the US should reinstate a long-expired legal tool to halt Chinese import surges enacted as China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.

Among the groups signing the letter were the Semiconductor Industry Association, the Information Technology Industry Council, the American Chemistry Council, the Beer institute, the National Retail Federation, the Halloween and Costume Association and the American Trucking Association.

The signatories included auto and truck parts associations, but not trade groups representing auto and EV manufacturers.

Many of the groups use and sell goods imported from China and they said in the letter that they employ tens of millions of Americas through “vast supply chains”.

 

  • Reuters with additional editing by Jim Pollard

 

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Jim Pollard

Jim Pollard is an Australian journalist based in Thailand since 1999. He worked for News Ltd papers in Sydney, Perth, London and Melbourne before travelling through SE Asia in the late 90s. He was a senior editor at The Nation for 17+ years.

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